The federal government Thursday commissioned research and development projects at the National Metallurgical Development Centre (NMDC) Jos, as part of efforts to position the mining sector as a viable alternative to oil.
Speaking while commissioning the projects, Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bawa Bwari, explained that government is determined to ensure that the potentials available in the sector are fully realised in order to build a robust economy that is capable of withstanding shocks and fluctuations in the domestic and world oil markets.
e360 learnt that the projects were funded through the federal government’s regular budgetary provisions and the solid minerals intervention fund for the development of the mineral and metal sectors.
They include; installation of Microwave Plasma–Atomic Emission Spectrometer (MP-AES), a state-of-the-art analytical equipment for the conduct of research work, acquisition and installation of 500kv stand-by generator and installation of two 10 KV Solar Power Plants.
Others are renovation, expansion and re-emodeling and of NMDC conference hall and media centre and renovation of a laboratory building to house MP-AES machine.
The minister explained that the MP-AES uses air from the atmosphere to generate the nitrogen required for its operations and has many advantages over similar ones as it is environmentally friendly, cheaper to operate and gives more accurate results.
“With the acquisition of this equipment, the ministry has further enhanced this centre’s capacity to contribute significantly to the diversification of the economy through the minerals sector, using environmental best practices,” Bwari said.
“The Metallurgical Development Centre is central to government’s efforts at diversifying the economy because it provides the critical research and development work needed for value addition in the mineral and metal processing and production chains,” he added.
“Government is determined to ensure that the potentials available in this sector are fully realised in order to build a robust economy that is capable of withstanding shocks and fluctuations in the domestic and world oil markets. We all know that Nigeria is endowed with abundant mineral resources, many of which are of the highest grade and require less money to explore compared to other countries where they occur,” Bwari further stated.
He disclosed that as a result of the exploratory activities embarked upon by this administration, the country have discovered newer and better occurrences of some minerals in previously unknown areas.
He said the sectors regulators would continue to provide the enabling environment for operators to thrive while also attracting new investors into the sector.
While commending the Director General of the Centre, Engr (Prof) Linus Asuquo, for the leadership provided so far, the minister expressed belief that the commissioning of the projects will further enhance NMDC’s capacity to function properly and motivate staff to put in their best service towards achieving government’s objective of diversifying the economy through the mineral and metal sectors.